The Hannah Anderson Kidnapping Story Just Became that Much Crazier

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 21 2013 12:33 PM

The Hannah Anderson Kidnapping Story Just Became that Much Crazier

Dimaggio
An undated file photos provided by the San Diego Sheriff's Department shows James Lee DiMaggio

It's a crazy story that just keeps getting crazier: The family of the man suspected of kidnapping 16-year-old Hannah Anderson after killing her little brother, Ethan, and her mother, Christina, is now requesting a paternity test to see if he is the biological father of the two children.

Jennifer Lai Jennifer Lai

Jennifer Lai is an associate editor at Slate. Slate Plus members, email her here.

James DiMaggio, who was shot and killed by FBI agents during Hannah's rescue, had been described as a longtime family friend of the Andersons. But now, DiMaggio's family suspects that the 40-year-old uncle figure may have been something more: "There has been a lot of rumors that Jim might be the father of either or both children," a family spokesman told local San Diego station KGTV.

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The scandalous rumors come, in part, from a bizarre twist in the story. It was revealed on Monday that DiMaggio removed his sister as a beneficiary from his life insurance in 2011, and left $112,000 in life insurance to Hannah's paternal grandmother, Bernice Anderson instead. Here's CBS News with a snippet of the alleged reasoning behind the strange move, according the family spokesman:

"He had stayed with Bernice while he was saving up money to get his house, so he trusted Bernice," DiMaggio family spokesman Andrew Spanswick said. "So he believed she was the solid matriarchal figure in the family that was responsible and would take care of the kids if anything happened."

KGTV has more on DiMaggio's alleged thought process:

"He expected the grandmother to take care of the two children with the money. He stated he did not want it to go to their parents because they were having marital problems and he didn't trust them with the money on their own," said Spanswick.

Still, it's strange that DiMaggio left her so much money with absolutely no explanation at all — and left his sister, who happens to be the lone survivor of his immediate family — out of his life insurance policy completely. Though DiMaggio's sister is the one requesting the DNA inquiry—which have led some to believe that it's about money—the DiMaggio family insists it's about answers and understanding what happened.

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